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Enjoy as an appetizer or part of a meal, either way you have it, this is the Best Easy Turkey Meatballs Recipe. You can make this recipe 4 different ways (oven, air fryer, stove top, with or without sauce) and they’re perfect for making ahead and freezing. I’ve been making these tender meatballs for over 20 years!

meatballs and pasta mixed together on a white plate.


Best Easy Turkey Meatballs Recipe

There are endless meatball recipes out there, but what makes this the Best Easy Turkey Meatballs Recipe? Using this one post, you can choose to bake, cook, or air fry these healthy turkey meatballs. I have compiled everything you need to know on how to make the best turkey meatballs all while keeping it easy and simple for you to make, even for your busiest weeknight. 

Since these turkey meatballs are freezer friendly, they’re so convenient for making any weekly meal plans. I love to cook these ahead of the week and store them in the fridge for a quick and healthy dinner. 

ingredients in turkey meatballs.

Ingredients Needed

  • Egg: this will help bind the meatballs together
  • Parmesan cheese: use grated parmesan, either fresh or from the can. This adds some salty flavor to the mixture.
  • Breadcrumbs: bread crumbs helps preserve the moisture in the meatballs and helps them bind together. You can use regular or panko breadcrumbs.
  • Worcestershire sauce: if you don’t have this then evenly mix ketchup, soy sauce and white wine vinegar
  • White or yellow onion: Grated onion keeps the meatballs extra moist!
  • Ground turkey: I’m using 93% lean ground turkey but you can also use ground beef.
  • Seasonings: I use Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. You can also use a combination of oregano, thyme, basil, and parsley.

Be sure to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

How to make Turkey Meatballs

  • Place egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic, seasoning, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Finely grate the onion into the mixture. Stir it together until it forms a thick paste.
  • Gently combine ground turkey into the mixture. You don’t want to over mix the meatball mixture, but make sure that the turkey and seasonings are all mixed through.
  • Scoop desired size meatballs in uniform size (1 tablespoon for 1-inch balls). Roll into balls.
meatballs and pasta mixed together on a white plate.

4 Cooking Methods

1. Marinara Sauce

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and let it heat through. Place  turkey meatballs into the hot pan. Once you put them down, don’t move them.
  • Cook meatballs about 3-5 minutes per side, or until they’re browned. Add marinara sauce to the pan and stir carefully to coat the meatballs. Turn heat to medium, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°F (about 10-15 minutes, depending on size).

2. Stovetop and Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Heat olive oil on the pan then place meatballs into the hot pan. Once you put them down, don’t move them. Cook your  turkey meatballs for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until they’re browned on both sides.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet covered with foil (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) or parchment paper and bake until cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°F (about 15-25 minutes, depending on size).

3. Oven only

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet covered with foil (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray for easy cleanup) or parchment paper and bake until cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°F (about 25-35 minutes, depending on size).

4. Air Fryer Meatballs

  • Working in batches, place meatballs in the airfryer basket, being careful not to overcrowd them. Cook at 350°F for about 9-13 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165°F.
meatballs in an air fryer.

Expert Tips

  • Serve meatballs with sauce over spaghetti, your favorite pasta or rice. Make Swedish meatballs or teriyaki meatballs or use any sauce. Meatballs are also great as a party appetizer served on toothpicks!
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
  • Cooked meatballs can be frozen – freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then once the balls are frozen place in an airtight container.
  • Don’t want turkey meatballs tonight? Try this meatball recipe using lean ground beef or ground chicken instead! 
  • Use a cookie scoop to get uniform size meatballs. I like a 1 tablespoon for small meatballs and a 2 tablespoon for large ones.
  • Grating the onion is my super secret tip – it keeps the meat super moist and it won’t dry out!
  • I don’t recommend swapping garlic powder for fresh garlic unless needed – fresh is best!

FAQs

How long do you cook meatballs in the oven?

For about 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs.

How do you know when meatballs are done?

Use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. For turkey meatballs, the internal temperature should be 165°F.

Why are my turkey meatballs hard?

Over cooking your meatballs can cause them to harden. To fix the hard turkey meatballs, steam them for a bit on the stove to moisten them up. To avoid your meatballs from hardening, be sure to cook them just before they’re done. This way your meatballs can finish cooking once they have been removed from the heat. 

meatballs and pasta mixed together on a white plate.

Easy Turkey Meatballs Recipe

5 from 3 votes
These easy turkey meatballs are a family favorite and regular dinner in our house!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Serving Size 1 serving

Ingredients
 

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup (30g) breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ½ small white or yellow onion
  • 1 pound ground turkey 93% lean
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Place egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic, seasoning, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Finely grate the onion into the mixture. Stir it together until it forms a thick paste.
  • Add the turkey to the bowl and work the mixture together gently. You don’t want to over mix the meatball mixture, but make sure that the turkey and seasonings are all mixed through.
  • Scoop desired size meatballs in uniform size (1-2 tablespoons each). Roll into balls.

Marinara Sauce:

  • Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil to the pan and let it heat through. Place meatballs into the hot pan. Once you put them down, don’t move them.
  • Cook meatballs about 3-5 minutes per side, or until they’re browned. Add marinara sauce to the pan and stir carefully to coat the meatballs. Turn heat to medium, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°F (about 10-15 minutes, depending on size).

Stove + Oven Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil to the pan and let it heat through. Place meatballs into the hot pan. Once you put them down, don’t move them. Cook meatballs about 3-5 minutes per side, or until they’re browned on both sides.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet covered with foil (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) or parchment paper and bake until cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°F (about 15-25 minutes, depending on size).

Oven Only:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer the meatballs to a baking sheet covered with foil (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) or parchment paper and bake until cooked through and the internal temperature is 165°F (about 25-35 minutes, depending on size).

Air Fryer Instructions

  • Working in batches, place meatballs in airfryer basket, being careful not to overcrowd them. Cook at 350°F for about 9-13 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165°F.

Recipe Notes

  • Serving suggestions: Serve meatballs with sauce over pasta or rice. Make swedish meatballs or teriyaki meatballs or use any sauce. These are also great as an appetizer!
  • Cooked meatballs can be frozen – freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, then once the balls are frozen place in an airtight container.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 1574mg | Potassium: 925mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 955IU | Vitamin C: 14.6mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3.2mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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Last Updated on January 22, 2024



Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

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12 Comments

  1. Hi. Can I freeze these meatballs after browning them before putting them in the sauce to finish on the stovetop?

  2. SOOO good! I don’t eat beef or pork, so am always looking for new chicken/turkey recipes. My past meatball attempts have come out so dry – these were juicy and so flavorful. I doubled the recipe and used 1/2 ground chicken, 1/2 turkey. Best meatballs I’ve ever made!

  3. Hi, Will try turkey meatball recipe, but wanted to know if this recipe would be OK to make it into turkey meatloaf, or do I have to add additional meat, egg, breadcrumbs, etc. Thanks for your reply. Linda m

  4. Love turkey meatballs!!! I have been making them forever but I love your recipe because I now have a ratio of spices, eggs and meat.
    I used to add the ingredients together then fry a small amount of the mixture, taste it and continue accordingly. Sometimes I would add more of what I thought was missing repeating this step a few times until the taste was perfect.
    I tried your recipe and it was perfect the first time!! YAY!!

    Thank you, Angie

  5. 30 minute Meals and Everyday Italian were shows I used to LOVE watching. I feel like I ran out of time for them these days though. Too many other things to do like FB scheduling lol. But those shows have some really good tips and nuggets of great info if you watch regularly. Your meatballs look perfect!

  6. I *love* turkey meatballs! Sometimes even better than beef / pork meatballs, just the flavor is so different (in a good way). These look awesome!